Monday 30 September 2013

Another stint in the field

Well, after at least three visits per week and nothing new to show for it, a Little Stint at GLE was welcome.  Alas, the two Rock Pipits which flew up and over my head were too flighty for me to pick up although I did hear something call.  Mr Blain who claims his hearing is not up to scratch doesn't really need to worry.

Thursday 26 September 2013

What have you left to go for?

Hello gentlemen and fellow-self-finders,

With three-quarters of the year almost gone, what do you realistically have a chance of getting before 2013 is over?

I'm sure some finds from here on in will be a case of 'more luck than judgement', but I think I have possibilities with the following. A couple are probable, some are possible, most are on a wing and a prayer, but frankly, I haven't got a hope in hell of any of them...but I've said that about a few so far...

1) Stonechat
2) Hawfinch
3) Rock Pipit
4) Water Pipit
5) Hen Harrier
6) Marsh Harrier
7) Merlin
8) Scaup
9) Goosander
10) Short-eared Owl
11) 'northern' bunting spp.
12) 'wild' anser spp.
13) 'wild' cygnus spp.
14) lanius spp. (much wanted...)
15. Two-barred Crossbill ;-)
16. Dotterel?
17. Black-necked Grebe
18. Bittern

And I'll have to get a shake-on if I'm to find these:

19. Ruff
20. Osprey
21. Grey Plover
22. Bar-tailed Godwit

What are you all hoping for?

Yours, wishfully thinking,


Saturday 21 September 2013


I have had a remarkable run of birds at Myers Farm and its six-a-side-sized reservoir this year: Black Redstart, Tree Pipit, Black-tailed Godwit, Greenshank, Pintail, Yellow-legged Gull. I guess that with no other wetland nearby, anything that needs to rest/ feed/ wash doesn't have a lot of choice about where to drop in.

Visiting the site two or even three times a day also ensures that I don't miss very much. My visit at dawn this morning was rubbish - as it has been for the past three weeks or so - and it didn't appear much better when I arrived again mid-afternoon...apart from a sparkling, silvery-white beacon of a larid amongst a loafing group of Black-headed Gulls. It was as shiny as an Italian pimp's sun tan. All-white primaries - check; heavy, blood-red bill - check; dark mask - check.

A beauty, and the first I have self-found in the county since one at Willington in 2004. I invited Steve to come along and savour its beauty, but he politely declined. The site is also a bit of a bugger to get to if you're driving.

134 self-found, zero-carbon - the only list that matters to me.


Sunday 15 September 2013

Black bonus

Decided to sleep in Sat morning with rain forecast and lots of rain the day before so missing out on a potential scoter find but had an unusual opportunity to get out in the evening. Knowing I had Yellow-legged Gull as a gap in the list (there seems to be a distinct lack of big gulls and attractive plough this year), I thought it would be a good chance to try a roost. Diving into Quest Pit first found me two more Ruff and two Black-tailed Godwit which I did not need for SFYL but arrival at Stewartby brought a bonus tick juvenile Black Tern before three YLG were spotted coming into the roost with just over a hundred LBBG. Two ticks in five minutes, can't be bad.

Thursday 12 September 2013

Spot the Ruff

Not found one of these in Beds for a few years so pleased to pick out a SFYT juvenile Ruff running around between the legs of geese on Quest Pit last Saturday 7th. It's in the pic somewhere...just left of centre.
The brown on the reeds indicate how much the water has needed to drop over the summer to allow the meagre amount of mud to appear. There was female Pintail in the pit as well, matching a record of one I found in the same location at start of Sep in 2012, maybe even the same bird as I found in Chimney Corner back in March.

Sunday 1 September 2013

Early autumn SFYL list padders

Twelve weeks had passed with nothing added to my SFYL so I needed to pick up a bit on return from holiday after four weekends and a bank holiday missed. With a fall on the coast a few days previously, Wryneck was on the cards so I dutifully covered Pegsdon on Saturday from early morning, scoring a SFYT with two Whinchat before also finding two Redstarts to add to the tally from the spring. No Wryneck though...

Sunday offered another chance to get out for a few hours and try to see some wet stuff. For the third year in a row, my list of self found waders was looking poor (I guess the lack of habitat does not help that) so once again I went looking for some mud, or at least exposed water edge, in the brick pits. Scored at Brogborough No2 with Greenshank but failed to pick out anything at Quest where the water level is finally looking slightly wader friendly.

+2 for the day and the attempt to reclaim third place has begun...